“Railroad Days” are coming to the Las Cruces Railroad Museum this Saturday. Friday will be an open house for students and teachers.
Where Las Cruces Ave. ends is a small outpost. "Sometimes trains will be going through while visitors are here," said Director of the Las Cruces Railroad Museum, Garland Courts.
The tracks next to it are busy to this very day carrying freight cargo.
Director of the Las Cruces Railroad Museum, Garland Courts was recently here preparing the museum for the annual ‘Railroad Days’ sponsored by the museum.
“They’re big. They’re loud and everybody’s got one in their city,” said Courts.
President Theodore Roosevelt stopped by here when Las Cruces Ave. was about the only paved road in town. He reassured Las Cruceans that New Mexico would become a state.
A lot has changed since then. The last passenger train operated here in 1968.
Since then, it has operated as a museum. Visitors have a passion for trains that could be described in almost no other way but romantic.
"You’ve got observation…see it off the main highway", said Courts.
The trains used to travel through New Mexico from Chicago and Los Angeles, showing visitors places like Carlsbad Caverns. A poster urges visitors to see the “Underground Fairyland” there.
“People still reminisce…rather than driving in a car,” said Courts.
Courts says the museum received a couple thousand more visitors when Gov. Richardson used to allow the New Mexico Rail Runner Express to travel down from Santa Fe. That was from 2009-2011.
“We’re hoping…up north they’ve got one that’s from Albuquerque to Santa Fe,” said Courts.
Today, there are still about a thousand visitors who come every year to ‘Railroad Days’ to take in the history.
The city museum is free to the public year-round.